Daniele Duca
BOFH excuse for today:  The Dilithium Cyrstals need to be rotated.
Server date is: 19/7/2024

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Say NO to software patents!
I've always wished to have a car navigator, but commercial ones are way too expensive, so I decided to build one with cheap equipment (excluding the notebook).

I found an old Garmin GPS 45 receiver and I used this to start my project.

First of all you need to make the cable for power and data, see Dr. Thomas Vonesh's great diagram::

After this cable you have almost finished, you have just to test your work. Here follows photos of my first test:

Red circle is for the GPS, Green circle is for the power supply, a 70W DC-DC converter bought for 25 euro. (click will open the image in a new window).

My notebook doesn't has a RS232 connector, so I bought a USB-RS232 converter for about 20 euro (circled in red)

Here you will see a screenshot of the navigator working

Speaking about navigation software, I tried 3 different programs.

Mappoint 2003
Mappoint 2004

Mappoint 2003 is the worst, refresh time for the GPS is 15 seconds... not very useful when you are looking for a street in a big city.

Mappoint 2004 is good, people at Microsoft decided to lower the refresh from 15 to 1 second, that is way better.

NaviPC is the best one, it speaks to you and uses Navtech cartography, so you can upgrade maps or install new ones. I found that this specified GPS is not very precise, it will shift your position from 10 to 100 (!) mt., making NaviPC goes crazy. I think that a better receiver would resolve this issue but unfortunately the Garmin 45 is the only receiver I have, so I can't be sure about that.

Thanks goes to my friend Fabio that helped me with the GPS cable


No liability for the contents of this document can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and other content at your own risk. There may be errors and inaccuracies that may damage your system. Proceed with caution, and although this is highly unlikely, the author does not and can not take any responsibility for any damage to your system that may occur as a direct or indirect result of information that is contained within this document. You are strongly recommended to make a backup of your system before proceed and adhere to the practice of backing up at regular intervals.

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This page last updated: 08/12/05